One year ago today, I wrote a post – a long one by my standards of the time – about how 2007 had been the greatest year of my life. It was a post full of passion, anime fandom, and the beauty of having just finished what was then my new alltime favorite anime. Today, I am going to try and tell you (in true Wangerian unchained post length) how 2008 destroyed it’s predecessor as the incomparably greatest year of all time. I will also decorate it with images that defined the year for me.
2008 started off with quite a bang for me. I had just seen my three alltime favorite anime over the past month, and I actually finished what would be my number one favorite, ef, on New Years day. In addition, at the end of that November, something had happened that had left me feeling invincible and that I could do anything I set my mind to. It was on New Years that this solidified with a sense of direction.
On January 1st I made a pledge that this would be the greatest year so far of my life, and that I would finally get on the road to fulfilling my dream. Seeing ef solidified that dream – to become a director. Finally, I had a path to follow. I also decided that my birthday would be the greatest day of my life so far – that’s because it was set to be on 08-08-08, with 8 having been my lifelong lucky number. I didn’t know how that would happen, though.
In early January came the first sign of things to come. That was with the call I got from my cousin, Funeral. Funeral and I had been best friends since I was about 10 years old. Four years ago we got into anime together and he used to be at my house all of the time. Eventually, though, we moved away and over the next few years I only saw him three or four times. The last time I’d seen him, he had graduated highschool and moved with his dad to Pennsylvania. It was out of the blue that he called me and we ended up talking for four hours. He then came down for a visit.
Funeral and I have always had the same interests in everything. We introduced each other to most of our favorite music, anime, and anything else, and it’s pretty uncommon for our opinions to drastically differ. He, too, had wanted to pursue directing. By the start of February when he visited again for his birthday, we’d decided that we would become directors. The plan was as follows – he would buy a professional camera and then move down here. He would be able to do it by summer, we thought.
On the anime front, January was mostly dedicated to my ’90s Anime Bonanza’ which involved me buying an asston of random used 90s DVDs and watching them. The bonanza dwindled when it was impossible to find progressive volumes for many of the shows. Still that was a lot of fun. During February I watched some shows from my Must Watch list (RahXephon, Kare Kano, Nadesico) which were all great.
I also started working for Anime-Planet at this time. That was fun while it lasted, but I ended up leaving several months later.
As I progressed though the months, I more and more had gotten it into my head that after 11th grade I was going to drop out of school. I had become fed-up with the perceived limitations of school life and was very sure that by summer I’d have started work on a film and then I could get rich early. Yes, I know how immature I was, but I was very confident.
March brought some more anime that would sit on the outer rims of my favorites list like Texhnolyze and Black Lagoon and I ended the month with marathons of several just finished shows. This was about the time in my anime watching career where I had seen enough good anime that it wasn’t so easy for everything to be a favorite anymore and I established a middle-ground between love and hate.
April further expanded this middle ground with shows like Ouran and Iriya, and it was also when I watched what was then my tied-for-first favorite anime Arjuna, which would later make me re-evaluate my favorites and eventually lead to the embarking of my Epic Journey.
May was a HUGE month for me both in terms of anime watched and blogging. This was the first month where I really started to wholeheartedly take blogging seriously and made many great editorial posts that I was actually proud of. It was also about the point that I really started to realize that I needed to find a bigger audience since I was acutally coming up with things I wanted people to read. I also watched a shitload of great anime like Nana and Dennou Coil and read the legendary Tokyo Akazukin.
June was when the school year finally ended, and just in time for me to convince myself to stick around through twelfth grade. On the director’s front, Funeral and I were talking on Yahoo messenger all the damn time (still are) and had come up with some ideas. My original film was to be a psychological action film that could have been great but we didn’t have the human resources to pull it off. Funeral was coming down for monthly visits and every time we’d do something really cool.
I think it was around here that we had our first life-changing epic experience of the year. For years, Funeral, my brothers, and I had been known to explore random forests. We had found a brand new forest that turned out to be made of win and awesome. It ended up leading us to an architecturally beautiful rich neighborhood, through a construction site (it was night so we climbed on the bulldozers and stuff) and around a great neighborhood. The trip was already amazing, but it really became legendary when a jeep that was passing by suddenly made a huge banging sound and it’s back wheel just rolled off, leaving it skidding on it’s axis with sparks flying out as it rounded a corner and disappeared. An image I’ll never forget.
During June, I also began my quest to consume as much random huge amounts of anime as possible. I watched first episodes of a fuckload of shows and crammed tons of ONAs and OVAs down my throat. I also grew more and more into 80s anime. I think I probably watched Otaku no Video the first time around then, which only inspired me to further pursue otakudom.
In early July, I began writing the script and concept of the film that I am now planning to direct first and have since finished writing. However, July saw the first major setback of the directing career when Funeral’s financial situation took a turn for the worst and he wouldn’t be able to move down till late fall or early winter. I felt like I had been betrayed by my own plans and it definitely posed a shot to my confidence. However, I quickly did what I do best and turned that wound into further inspiration.
I slowed down on anime in July, mostly watching 80s OVAs and all of Blood+ which equates to nothing all that memorable. However, that’s because I was preparing myself for the insane levels of epic that were waiting at the start of August.
August 1st was the first of these epic experiences. Funeral, my brother, and I were going to a big concert known as the Mayhem Festival. We were most excited about the bands Mastodon and more so the band Dragonforce who would be playing. It was a scorchingly hot day. Unexpectedly, before the mainstage shows, Dragonforce was signing autographs and the three of us got them. All 3 of us were stunned speechless. My brother, a diehard fan, actually pointed at the group as he went up and with a huge style he yelled in a nerdy voice “DRAGONFORCE!!!” and then after getting the autographs pointed the the guitarists and went “YEEEEEEAH!”
Dragonforce put on the best fucking live show I’ve ever seen. However, the truly epic bit came when we were hanging around the concert grounds ignoring the Disturbed show. We happened to meet the Dragonforce guitarists themselves who were wasted beyond belief and talking to random passerbys. I was the only one brave enough to speak to the hilarious unintelligible brits as I gave them advice on whether or not they should fuck a pair of really hot Catholic girls. We advised them to and later on I ran into the guitarist again who somehow had remembered me enough to tell me the girls had sucked. It was a beautiful moment.
However, a week later was by far the greatest experience of my life. Otakon. Just as I’d promise don January 1st, the greatest day of my life turned out to be my birthday, 8-8-08, when I got the once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing JAM Project live with the best audience ever and they played what is, to me, the most iconic of all anime songs – The SoulTaker. Between seeing it live and doing epic karaoke of it the next day in front of everyone I love and admire from Megatokyo the next day was probably the greatest experience I’ve ever had. Truly, unfathomably monumental.
That month, I also found myself truly disappointed with my blog. What I still consider four of my best posts ever, the episodic reviews of Boogiepop episodes, got totally ignored, causing me to give up on the series (and I had even advertised them.) Meanwhile, stupid posts like bitching about Nanoha got the most comments I’d ever seen on my blog. I’m actually still getting shit about it. I made up for it by watching two of my 2008 favorites, Kure-nai and Kanokon.
September was a wishy-washy month for me on the anime front. Higurashi was amazing, and Birdy the Mighty was okay, but for some reason that month I couldn’t seem to finish anything. Shows like Rose of Versailles and Princess Tutu were great, but I kept getting stuck and never finding the drive to push forward. This is what would lead to my big anime drought.
Starting from late August, Funeral and I had started discovering floods of amazing bands and for the coming months, my focus shifted way more to music than anime. I mean, we literally discovered hundreds of great bands and I completely reinvented my favorite albums. In the meanwhile, anime almost fell off the map.
In October, I watched the first eps of most of the new shows as usual and also as usual didn’t continue any for a long time. however otherwise I think I rewatched ef, watched 8 eps of Beck, and maybe a random ep here and there of other anime. For the most part, though, it was a total drought. I tried to make up for it with my Studio Studies posts which, while great, weren’t meant for discussion really and ended up setting me up for my own failure.
In early November I made a now lengendary post called Essential Anime over at Yukan that got me unilaterally flogged. It was around this time that I started to reassess my blogging as a whole. It was also around then that Ghostlightning started reading my blog. I started to get back to talking about more personal things and for a while was writing almost specifically to what I thought would interest ghostlightning. I once again watched a couple anime like Rescue Wing and rewatched Marimite, but mostly I was still out of it.
The end of November sucked because Funeral had been almost sure he was moving down, but ended up holding off for another month. However, this gave me time in December to finally come full force back into anime and blogging.
I had just gotten accepted into Oi, Hayaku, and between that and Ghostlightning I was pumped about blogging. I soon plotted out the epic adventure that would make me an otaku again – the Moe Marathon. As I marathoned shitloads of moe, somewhere between Toradora and Lucky Star I became an otaku again. For the rest of the month I became reunited with my love and have once more been pouring forth immense love and energy into blogging and watching. Near the middle of the month I embarked on the Epic Journey which is the true future of my anime watching.
At the end of the year everything finally fell into place. We got the professional camera for Christmas as we’d planned months before. On December 29th, Funeral finally moved in with us and it’s still taking time to sink in that it’s not just a long sleep over. We had a bunch of friends over, have been watching anime, having fun, and living it up. We kicked off the new year by blowing up a Nirvana CD and partying like hell. It’s too bad that there wasn’t another alltime favorite anime to be discovered, but we did watch one of the best movies ever, Pineapple Express, and that’s good enough for me.
I truly accomplished everything I set out to do in 2008 and then some. It was a year that blew me away in more ways than I can comprehend and I’m still reeling in the joy of it all, as is Funeral who was right there with me through all the great moments. 2009 is the year I plan to take all of that and run with it. This year was setting the stage for my dream, and right from the get-go 2009 is all about following that dream into eternity. My resolution this year is to follow my path and burst ever higher through the heavens. To all who read my blog: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
Check out my Top 5 section where I’ll be putting up my top 5 anime of 08 and other such lists. Ciao!